September 2, 2019 / 10:57 AM / 19 days ago

'Unreasonable' for UK lawmakers to bind PM's hands on Brexit: spokesman

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens to a child as he asks him a questions during an education announcement inside Downing Street in London, Britain, August 30, 2019. Jeremy Selwyn/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - It would be entirely unreasonable for British lawmakers to try to bind the hands of Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he seeks a new Brexit deal with the European Union, his spokesman said on Monday.

Opposition parties and rebel Conservative lawmakers are expected to try to force the government to ask Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline when parliament returns from its summer break on Tuesday.

“It would be entirely unreasonable for MPs (Members of Parliament) having rejected the previous deal three times, to attempt to bind the hands of the prime minister as he seeks to negotiate a deal they can support ahead of EU council in October,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman declined to comment on the legislation that the opposition will put forward, saying he had not seen it yet. He said the prime minister was working with great determination to get a deal with the European Union.

Asked if Johnson was planning to hold an election, his spokesman said: “He has been asked this on many, many occasions and his answer has always been that he doesn’t want there to be an election. He believes what the public wants is for him to deliver Brexit on Oct. 31. That is what he is entirely focused upon.”

Asked about three separate court cases challenging Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for around a month between mid-September and mid-October ahead of a Queen’s Speech, the spokesman said: “The government needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.

“We will defend our position robustly. Anyone seeking to frustrate the government’s ability to set its policy agenda through court action should note the decision made in the Court of Session to reject the request for an interim injunction to delay prorogation.”

Reporting by William James; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Michael Holden and Janet Lawrence

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